Issue 12 - 1st December 2023
I wanted to start this newsletter on a very positive message. The children have been on a lot of outings recently including the cinema, space centre, other schools and various sporting events. I am incredibly proud to share that we are consistently getting feedback that the children's behaviour is really good - both from our staff and other staff/spectators at the events particularly in comparison to other schools. It is really brilliant to hear this! As part of 'The Climb,' we introduced a behaviour curriculum and we can really see the difference for many children. A big well done Almond Hill!
FOAH will be hosting the Christmas Present Room next Friday. Please remember that online payments close today (Friday 1st December). Cash will be accepted on the day but they are unable to take IOUs. Recently, I told parents that we would be having class reps from each class to help support the FOAH at events and they will also be helping on the day. If you are able to spare some time in the morning to volunteer in the present room, please get in touch!
Have a good weekend.
Parent Survey Feedback
Do you use Seesaw? What do you like about it? Is there anything else you would like to see on Seesaw?
It is really promising to see that the vast majority of parents who responded to the survey use Seesaw. We invested in Seesaw to help bridge the gap between home and school. The aim was to help you open the dialogue with your children about what they have been learning and give you an insight into their time at school. Many of the teachers here are parents and we understand the pain of asking our child what they have been doing only to receive an answer like, ‘I can’t remember’.
Parents have reported that they find the app easy to use and love to see photos of their children’s work. We researched a lot of different apps when deciding on what we would like to invest in and feel Seesaw is by far the best – I have used it as a parent myself and agree with the comments about how wonderful it is.
What else could we use Seesaw for?
Some parents have said they feel it is not being used to its full potential and in part I agree. Seesaw has a lot to offer however I am mindful that the main responsibility for teachers is to teach and although we are looking at how we can move forward with Seesaw, we want to ensure it is always seen as a positive tool and that it does not become too onerous.
Messaging the Teacher
There is the option to message the teacher but this has been switched off. The reason for this is we already use a system for messaging parents and have the year group emails, and feel having too many channels for communication could lead to messages being missed. You are always welcome to email your child’s teacher using the current methods.
Posting to the journal from home
Some parents have asked about posting to their child’s journal from home. In order to do this, class teachers need to issue a ‘home learning code’ and I am going to discuss the pros and cons of this with teachers over the coming months – watch this space!
The general consensus is that parents would like to see Seesaw used more. All teachers and support staff have now received training on the app and classes have an iPod to use specifically for Seesaw. Please remember, your child must have image consent to be included in group/class posts.
Collection for Children in Year 3 and 4.
Children in Years 3 and 4 need to be collected by an adult unless we have written permission for children to go home with older siblings. Please confirm this with teaching staff via the year group email. There are no laws about this as such as it relates to the level of the child's competency however we feel that most children in Years 3 and 4 do not have the experience to make safe choices when circumstances are not as they have expected. It is also sometimes not possible for an older sibling to keep a younger sibling safe. Ultimately it is the parents' decision however we are responsible for the safeguarding of the children so will want some dialogue if children younger than Year 5 are not being collected by an adult. As the school has become larger and access routes (both pedestrian and vehicle) have become busier, this becomes increasingly important. There were two incidents at the end of the school day in the last week that have meant that children have not been directly supervised by an adult which may have compromised their safety and I really want to avoid a near miss becoming an accident.
Use of Mobile Phones in School
Please can I ask parents to remind children in the upper school that phones must not be used in school grounds. I understand the desire for children to have phones in the event of them walking home independently but they must be switched off when in school and should not be used. This includes taking photos.
The government expectation for attendance is at least 96%. We have seen an increase in absence due to sickness and wanted to remind parents that although there will be times when your child is too poorly to attend school, the NHS has guidelines in relation to certain illnesses and whether a child is 'too ill for school'. Please take a look (and save) the link below for reference. We know good attendance improves learning and would encourage parents to support their child in coming to school.
Our next parent forum will be held at 5.30pm on Wednesday 13th December and Miss Simmons would love to see some parents there especially those with children in Year 6. Please contact Miss Simmons via the Year 6 email address if you would like to come.
Year 3 Christmas Musical
I wanted to thank parents of Year 3 for their support during the organisation of the Christmas Musical. Limiting tickets is not an easy decision but is unfortunately not something we have a choice on due to the restrictions with our space. We are really looking forward to seeing you next week. FOAH will be there in the evening selling refreshments too!
Non uniform Day - Friday 8th December
Please remember children can wear non uniform next Friday to help support The Stevenage Community Trust's Christmas Gift Appeal. Payments can be made now on School Gateway.
Parent Feedback - Parent Engagement Events
A big thank you to the parents who responded to the cinema survey on last week’s newsletter. We had almost 100 responses with the vast majority of those saying they felt overall the cinema trip was a good idea and we agree! It was amazing to see so many of you at the open afternoon yesterday enjoying the DT Christmas crafts. It made me think of the elf workshop! I hope the QR system made signing in quicker and easier for parents (and hopefully meant less time was spent waiting in the cold).
As so many of you answered my quick survey last week, I would like to ask another this week.
For our full calendar, please click the 'button' link below.
Click here to view next week's events...
05/12/2023 - 9:00am – 3:15pmYear 4 Faith Tour
05/12/2023 - 6:00pm – 7:00pmFOAH Meeting
06/12/2023 - 12:30pm – 2:30pmYear 6 Visit to Thomas Alleyne
06/12/2023 - 3:00pm – 3:30pmUniform Sale
07/12/2023 - 1:45pm – 2:45pmY3 Christmas Musical Performance 1 of 2
07/12/2023 - 6:00pm – 7:00pmY3 Christmas Musical Performance 2 of 2
08/12/2023 - All DayFOAH Present Room
08/12/2023 - All DayNon-Uniform Day
Don't forget to pre-order your child's lunches!
Follow the link below to order.
You can pre-order from home for the day, week, month or even the term.
Year 3 – 91.7%
Year 4 –96.08%
Year 5 –95.96%
Year 6 –95.14%
All students – 94.67%
Class winners 5P - 99.3%
The government expectation for attendance is 96%
Upcoming Friends of Almond Hill Events
FOAH Meeting - Tuesday 5th December at 6.00pm
Year 3 Christmas Musical - Selling refreshments at the evening performance - Thursday 7th December
Christmas Present Room - Friday 8th December
Christmas sweet jars – w/c 11th December
In Other News...
Almond Hill helped to raise £580.82 for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. Well done!
Year 6 Visit to Thomas Alleynes
Year 6 are very lucky to have been invited to watch Thomas Alleyne’s school production of ‘Back to the 80’s’, a production about life at William Ocean High during the 80s. The performance will be held during the afternoon of Wednesday 6th December with children leaving school after lunch and returning to school by the end of the day.
We had another wonderful book sale this week which raised £80.66! If you have any books at home your child no longer reads, we would be incredibly grateful for these to be added to our next sale. The book sales were brought in by a previous school government and have continued monthly ever since. This has helped encourage a love of reading and recycling!
HCL Theme Day Lunches
Please help our cook by pre-ordering your child's Christmas dinner by Friday 8th December.